President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr apparently forgot to consult with each other while coming up with an explanation for the abrupt firing of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoff Berman on Friday night.
In a seething letter sent to Berman on Saturday, Barr accused the U.S. attorney of choosing “public spectacle over public service” by announcing that he would not resign in defiance of the press release Barr had issues earlier.
“Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so,” Barr wrote.
Then Trump came in and shattered Barr’s version of events entirely by telling reporters that Berman’s position is “all up to the attorney general” and denying any involvement in the debacle.
“Attorney General Barr is working on that. That’s his department, not my department,” Trump said. “But we have a very capable attorney general, so that’s really up to him. I’m not involved.”
Trump on Barr's claim Trump fired Geoff Berman: "That's really up to him. I'm not involved" pic.twitter.com/yB0Fjc61Uv
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) June 20, 2020
Barr’s late-night press release announcing that Berman, who is currently leading the investigations into Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his associates in Ukraine, had stepped down immediately caused a firestorm on Friday.
The situation grew even more chaotic after the SDNY attorney publicly refuted Barr’s announcement, saying in a defiant press release that he had not resigned and had “no intention” of doing so.
“Our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption,” Berman said.